This introductory chapter sets the stage for discussion on a period of unstructured experimentation with ideas of peace during the eleventh and early twelfth centuries. Between 1000 and 1200, reformers in the papal curia and monks and canons in the intellectual circles of northern France had begun to reimagine the church as a body whose task it was eventually to absorb all peoples through progressive acts of revolutionary peacemaking. They envisioned this peace as faithful community, under a just regime, directed by spiritual authority, and comprising those who had been united by a turbulent transformation of desire and perception. The chapter briefly explores this legacy of peace from late antiquity, and emphasizes the importance of thinking “with peace” for historians looking into the Christian Middle Ages.
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